Friday, December 25, 2009


Currently in Hyderabad (India), at The Husband's parents' house (see photo below). It's been quite a whirlwind up 'till now, and much as I've wanted to blog, electricity, internet service and my laptop have not managed to coincide until now. We were in Bangalore (glorious weather), Kochi (hottest, most humid weather I have ever tried to move or breathe in), and then the most incredible experience on the island of Bangaram, part of the Lakshadweep archipelago. On Bangaram, we underwent a complete electronics detox: no phones, computers, wireless, was great. Just fabulous snorkeling, gentle sweating in hammocks (a large palm frond barely missed me, falling from high above), precisely when I was looking up and thinking Those could fall and hit someone. Then two days in and near Munnar, a rather cold, foggy experience, not to my tastes (Scots settled there at one time; that gives you an idea of the climate), and finally on to Hyderabad.

I've managed to do almost no art. It seems we are continually in a vehicle, or planning itineraries, or trying to find internet to check email, or falling into bed exhausted from being too many hours in a vehicle. The couple of times I have tried to do some pastels, various things have happened: ants come running to swarm over the pastel sticks (perhaps they taste good?); there is not enough light indoors to see properly (and during the day, we're too busy trying to get from one place to another to do any painting); there is no surface to put everything on and my back protests from leaning over on the floor.

And I do have some pastel-traveling tragicomedy to share: firstly, security luggage people seem to find a case of pastels under X-ray to be quite dangerous-looking. In two different airports, I've had to unwrap the whole package: triple plastic bags taken off to reveal bubble wrap; bubble wrap peeled off to expose the case itself; unlatch the case to show all the little pieces of color. I explain them as "artists' chalks," which seems to go over best. In one particular airport, in heat and humidity you could swim in, I had to go through this procedure, and realized the hard way that I hadn't fitted the velcro cover part of the case exactly aligned...and guess what happened...yes, they all fell out. Right onto the security x-ray conveyor. In front of a big, angry queue. About two hundred little pieces of pastels (and all their dust), from all their little foam holding places. Not a happy thing.

More to blog later, if possible.

I'm really feeling out of touch and missing art and all of you, my art blogger friends!

This (above) is my favorite of the sketches. A big, friendly Belgian man in the airport (the same one in which all my pastels spilled out in Security.)

With The Husband's parents at their house in Hyderabad.

Magnificent low tide on Bangaram Island. That's The Husband wading.

The Husband enjoys his favorite, paper dosa.

Dinners on the island were a marvelous affair: firewood-cooked gourmet Indian food under the stars and next to the waves. I finally saw phosphorescence, too. It was electric blue. Something I'd always heard about and never actually seen.

More art on my website:


Anonymous said...

beautiful sketches, photographs and wonderful stories and all in one post, enjoyed this post, and by the way we Scots have got snow and it is the first time in years.

Fernando Pena said...

Hola Jala,

gracias por compartir tus historias de viaje, los sketches que están estupendos y las fotos. Buen comienzo de año. Saludos.

Unknown said...

Great Post, Jala! Loved the arm chair travel while wet here in Virginia, 14 inches of snow melting slowly now in the rain, first snow like this since 2001....the photos are fabulous, as is the story of the wayward pastel

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jala, for taking the time to keep us all "posted"... Looks to me like you will return from India totally saturated with colors, sights, sounds, smells and more to fuel your artistic endeavors. Wonderful pictures...

Joyce Washor said...

Found you cause i recently signed up for google alerts and your link came up! So glad it did; great post!! A couple of my friends are in Ganespuri,India at an ashram for a few weeks. Love your writing, photo and artwork. Happy Holidays and I look forward to reading more! said...

Nice sketches and photos. It looks like you are having a Merry Christmas wherever you are.

Anonymous said...

Love the stories and the sketches. How wonderfully exotic while I'm freezing. It's been sleeting all day.

And who doesn't love airport security personnel. (Ugh!) Sorry about your pastels.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

What a wonderful trip! Loved the story of the pastels falling out at security - serves them right! I had security open a packet of wet paintings which were secure - till they packed them back up, and smeared them all against each other! Keep sketching - I find it's good exercise if you don't know how long your 'model' will stay! These photos are amazing. My two favorites: Your husband eating his favorite goodies, and the 'Do Not Urinate Here' sign - let's hope there's a port-a-potty nearby! Relax. Enjoy.

L.Holm said...

Perfect post, Jala! Feel like I've traveled, too. Can picture the whole pastel ordeal perfectly. Love the photos--beautiful and funny, and your quick sketches are masterful. Safe and wonderful travels to you. Looks like a beautiful locale.

Diane Hoeptner said...

Wonderful update, Jala! Lovely sketches and interesting photos, thanks very much for sharing.

loriann signori said...

Love this post Jala. I forgot to warn you about pastels and security. Email me when you return for future tips on getting through unscathed. I like the gestures in your sketches.
Happy New Year!

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Wow, your drawings and photos really capture the place! Have fun!

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Rahina - It seems that winter is very harsh this year all over the globe, or at least Europe and for sure the U.S. Glad you liked the post.

Hola Fernando - Feliz An~o Nuevo. Me alegro de que te gustara este post.

Cathyann - Those little pastel sticks had a mind of their own, to be sure.

Hi Donald, thanks, and happy new year.

Jala Pfaff said...

Hello Joyce, welcome and thank you! You are the "miniature" artist, are you not? I really admire your work, always have.

Hello Bill - Xmas, no. The Husband is Hindu (non-practicing) and I'm Jewish (non-practicing). But it was the thought that counts. ;D

Hi Carol! Airport security people are just the BEST, aren't they?!

Hi Kelley - Man, that sucks about your paintings! :O Men on the street urinate all the time wherever they feel like it; women have no place to go.

HI Liz - Thanks. The island was truly a magical place.

Diane - Hi, glad you enjoyed it.

Hi Loriann - Forgot to email you about security ideas--hopefully I will remember.

ELIZabeth - Thank you!